The list of Indian sportspersons who became politicians is a lengthy one. Being a sportsperson then getting into politics has become too common and is the best way to secure your future. It seems politics is slowly becoming the go-to the profession after retirement for Indian sportsperson.
Here are the five Indian sportspersons who became politicians after their sports career:
1. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
The most successful Indian athlete, who made the transition from sport to politics. He was a double-trap shooter, who won India’s only medal at the 2004 Olympics by securing the silver medal. Colonel Rathore has secured seven international gold medals in his shooting career. After taking voluntary retirement from the army, Rathore joined the BJP.
He went onto win the seat from Jaipur rural. However, his peak came in 2014, when he was inducted into Narendra Modi’s Cabinet as the Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting. Rathore was selected as a Cabinet minister with a free charge forMinistry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2017. He is one of the most successful Indian sportspersons who became politicians.
2. Mohammad Azharuddin
He is one of the most successful captains of the national side, Azharuddin has seen many ups and downs in his career. He represented India from 1984-2000. Azharuddin returned into the spotlight with the arrival of a Bollywood biopic on his life, titled ‘Azhar’.
He scored a total of 9378 ODI runs, a record that time, in 334 ODIs.
After having to be in a difficult situation in a match-fixing saga that ended his playing career, he then switched to politics and took part in the 2009 elections representing Congress, and became a member of the parliament by winning from Moradabad.
In 2012, the Andhra High Court lifted the life ban on Azharuddin.
3. Nafisa Ali
The two-time national swimming champion had switched from a sportsperson to an actor to politician, the 57-year old has had an eventful life and changed her career many times.
From 1972-1974, she dominated Indian swimming, winning back to back national championships. She was also a jockey at the Calcutta Gymkhana club. Nafisa started her career in politics in 2004, she joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and contested for the South Kolkata seat in West Bengal. However, after losing out in her constituency, she had to wait five more years for her next chance.
In 2009, she contested the elections for the Samajwadi Party from Lucknow. That time her electoral candidacy resulted in victory. However, after a brief stint with SP, she joined Congress the same year.
4. Navjot Singh Sidhu
Next on the list of Indian sportspersons who became politicians is former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who played 51 Tests for the Indian team, having made his debut in 1983. He also represented the team in 134 ODIs.
Popular in the commentary box, his comments have been branded as “Siddhuism” by his followers. Still, he took a jump to politics and joined the BJP in 2004. He has been successful in the political arena as well, having won the Lok Sabha elections twice. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 from Punjab before he resigned from the position the same year and quitting the party. In 2017, he joined the Indian National Congress and was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from Amritsar East.
Finally, he formed a party of his own, named ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’.
5. Kirti Azad
He was part of the 1983 World Cup winning team, Kirti Azad played 7 Tests and 25 ODIs for India. His dad, Bhagwat Jha Azad, had filled in as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
After his career as a player, he turned to broadcast on television. He has been part of news chat-shows and post-match television discussions. Yet, he finally found himself getting a career in politics. Previously, from Delhi’s Gole Market constituency he was an MLA.
He won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Darbhanga, last he was serving his third term in the Lok Sabha as part of the BJP. He is currently suspended by BJP.
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